LOW-LEVEL AND TACTICAL FORMATION
should not hesitate to communicate any unsafe condition and take the appropriate action required
to prevent a mishap from occurring. Flight crew responsibilities are:
Mission Commander. A Mission Commander will be assigned (via annotation on the flight
schedule) for each formation flight. The mission commander is responsible for the safe and
orderly conduct of the flight, and makes decisions for the flight regarding weather, departure/
recovery, fuel requirements, operating areas, etc. This responsibility is held by the same pilot for
the duration of the event and does not change with in-flight lead transfer (i.e., the mission
commander may fly either LEAD or WING positions).
Formation Leader (LEAD). The formation leader is the PIC of the lead aircraft. The
formation leader changes with every lead change. Responsibilities include:
Conduct the flight in the briefed sequence.
Keep the flight clear of other aircraft (clearing), including any other low level traffic (local
or MTR) as well as identifying and avoiding terrain, birds, and manmade obstacles.
Maintain flight in VMC.
Ensure the flight remains on the assigned route (in compliance with course rules and ATC
Initiate climbs, descents, turns, slowdowns and recoveries.
Ensure aircraft is flown precisely, giving wingman a stable platform to follow using the
Climb and descend at 1000 fpm.
Lead will use a maximum of 1200 ft-lb (T-44)/2000 ft-lb (TC-12) and a minimum of
Lead will plan to make all turns using 30º of bank. This does not prevent lead from
using 45º of bank if needed.
Ensure all necessary communications are accomplished.
Wingmen (WING). The primary duty is to maintain formation position relative to LEAD.
Additional responsibilities include:
Inform LEAD of any deviations from brief.
Acknowledge all interplane frequency changes and all required interplane radio calls.
Execute frequency changes.